Railroad Commission Adopts Pipeline Permit Rule Amendments


AUSTIN—Texas Railroad Commissioners have unanimously adopted pipeline permit rule amendments designed to clarify how a pipeline operator may be classified by the Commission as a common carrier. Common carrier pipelines in Texas are pipelines which are contracted to carry crude petroleum, gas or carbon dioxide for hire.   

The rule amendments require pipeline operators to verify their claim to be a common carrier when applying for a T-4 Permit to Operate a pipeline or when renewing, amending or cancelling an existing permit. Adoption of the rule amendments represents another step by the Commission to protect the public and responsibly regulate pipelines operating under the Commission’s jurisdiction.

Chairman Christi Craddick said, “Pipelines are fundamental to the safe and timely transportation of our state’s oil and gas resources. And regulation of the pipeline industry is one of the Commission’s most important duties in ensuring the safety of our citizens and the industry’s ability to keep pace with transporting our increasing supplies. The Commission’s new permitting procedures for common carrier pipelines certifies a more vibrant, transparent permitting process for pipelines operating in the state of Texas.”

Commissioner David Porter said, “The Commission has a duty to determine the proper classification of a pipeline and use that information to apply appropriate rules and regulations. These rule amendments improve our ability to determine which regulatory classification applies to a pipeline.”

Commissioner Barry Smitherman said, “The Commission’s T-4 Permit to Operate is a permit to operate a pipeline in Texas. It does not change the rights of a property owner nor does it grant eminent domain powers to a pipeline operator.  Our new rules require an attestation from the operator of their knowledge of Texas eminent domain laws and the Texas Landowners’ Bill of Rights.”

The adopted rule amendments take effect on March 1, 2015, and include the following requirements:

  • permit applications must now include additional information including requested classification and purpose of the pipeline or pipeline system as a common carrier, a gas utility or private line operator;
  • permit applications must include a sworn statement from the pipeline applicant providing the operator’s factual basis supporting the classification and purpose being sought for the pipeline;
  • if applicable, the pipeline operator must submit documentation such as a contract or tariff for third-party transportation in the case of a common carrier, along with any other information requested by the Commission;
  • the pipeline T-4 permit, if granted, shall be revocable at any time after a hearing if the Commission finds that the pipeline is not being operated in accordance with state laws and Commission rules and regulations.
  • the applicant must acknowledge the eminent domain provisions in the Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights.



About the Railroad Commission

Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including more than 90 years regulating the oil and gas industry. Additionally, the Commission promotes research and education on the use of alternative fuels and has jurisdiction over gas utility, surface mining and pipeline industries. Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. To learn more, please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov/